PINEVILLE — The Mountain Lions have come out of the Christmas break playing defense with a vengeance. Monday night they opened the second half by forcing seven turnovers during a 15-0 run as they broke their game open and went on to a 72-46 win over Lynn Camp.
It was Pineville’s fourth straight win and their second in a row in 51st District action. The Lions stayed alive for the top seed in the district thanks to Friday’s 44-39 win at Knox Central.
“There are some things we’ve changed the last couple of games defensively. We tried to that tonight, but we didn’t do it as tenaciously as we did against Knox. We played hard, but not with the same purpose,” said Pineville coach J.D. Strange. “The second half we played a lot smarter defensively and kept (Matt) Trosper out of the paint. He killed us in the first half by getting into the paint because of our over-aggressiveness.”
Senior forward Byron David Asher led a balanced Lion attack with 15 points. The Lions also got 14 points each from John Simpson and Seth Jeffrey along with ten from Cody Collett and eight from Jared Philpot.
Lynn Camp was led by Justin Hammonds’ 15 points while Trosper finished with 11 and Skylar McFarland 11.
Early on the Wildcats made a game of it. McFarland and Hammonds combined for nine first quarter points as they trailed just 16-14 after one.
Trosper scored seven of his points in the second quarter, but the Lions were able to close the half strong despite Simpson sitting with foul trouble.
Jeffrey and Collett hit 3-pointers and Dalton Ledbetter scored after grabbing an offensive rebound and the lead was 35-26 by halftime.
The 15-0 run to open the third quarter put the game away. Collett and Jeffrey scored five points each during the decisive run and a basket from Asher made it 50-25 with 3:20 to play in the period.
Hammonds ended the Lynn Camp drought with a 3-pointer at the 2:36 mark, but Asher and Simpson both converted three-point plays and the lead was up to 30 going into the fourth quarter and the Lions went on to win by 26.
“It was an early game time and there were a whole lot of things going on tonight. I don’t know what it was, but in the first half we had a hard time getting focused,” Strange said. “In the third quarter we got into a rhythm, made some shots, came up with some steals and started to settle down and play.
“Lynn Camp has some good athletes and they battled. During that first half I was very concerned.”
Pineville (10-5, 2-1 in district play) returns to action Friday at Model. Lynn Camp (8-9, 0-2) plays at Knox Central Friday.
Strange said tonight’s game between Knox Central (0-1 in district play) and Barbourville (2-0) will go along way toward determining the seeding for the 51st District tournament.
“If Barbourville wins, obviously they’ll be the one seed and we’ll be the two. If Knox Central wins, it all comes down to point margin, as long as they also beat Lynn Camp on Friday. We could be the one seed or the three seed, so it can still go a lot of different ways,” he said.
— — —
Lynn Camp…14…12….6…14 — 46
Pineville……..12…19…21…16 — 72
LYNN CAMP (46): Justin Hammonds 15, Matt Trosper 11, Skylar McFarland 11, Zach Smith 5, Chase Turner 2, Josh Morris 2, Austin Maier 0, Austin Withrow 0, Gary Swafford 0, Dakota Baker 0, Aaron Mills 0, Justin Taylor 0, Austin Wilson 0.
PINEVILLE (72): Byron David Asher 15, John Simpson 14, Seth Jeffrey 14, Cody Collett 10, Jared Philpot 8, Connor Ford 6, Dalton Ledbetter 3, Isaac Longworth 1, John Robbins 1, Nate Wilder 0.